According to our Bradt guide, Gjirokastra is an ‘austere and beautiful town’ in south west Albania. Our tour of the country included a two-night stay at the “Hotel Gjirokastra.”:http://www.gjirokastra.org/sub_links/accommodations/HGjirokastra.html Although it was centrally located, the town is hilly with cobbled streets, so stout shoes and puff are required.
Arriving at 1pm, we were presented with water and told to wait, presumably for the room to be ready, although it wasn’t totally clear, as little English was spoken. Although the website suggested there were 4 rooms, it appeared much bigger and we later confirmed there were 11.
Eventually we were shown to our room or suite. It was up a few steps, through a large wooden door which led into a storage/laundry area with two rooms off it. Ours was large with a double bed with ornate carved head and footboard, bedside tables with lamps (and plug points if you took out the lamps), wooden floor and a stone feature wall: the city is known as the stone city because of the Ottoman-era stone architecture.
There was an Ottoman-style corner sofa, coffee table, wall-mounted TV and small fridge with large bottle of water. Wooden stairs led to a mezzanine with two twin beds which were only suitable for children bearing in mind the ceiling height. Underneath the stairs was a small wardrobe, but in the absence of any shelving, the sofa was used for suitcases and clothes. As usual there was no safe, tea or coffee making facilities or phone, but there was air conditioning. Whilst there was Wi-Fi, it was very intermittent during our stay and at one point, just as we were getting changed, there was a relatively lengthy power cut.
The bathroom was a good size with open shower and reasonably powerful hot water, sink, loo and hairdryer. There was sufficient space for putting out toiletries and hanging up our washing. Rubber slippers were provided.
In the breakfast area (7.30am to 10am), there appeared to be a bar/restaurant but as with many of the places we stayed in Albania, there was no information about facilities and what was on offer. Tables and chairs on an outside patio caught the late afternoon sun.
At breakfast the food arrived fast and furious: a large pot of natural yoghurt, plate of fried donuts, four other unexplored pastry/breads, a basket full of bread, a glass of red juice and a fried egg on a plate with tomato, green pepper and a fair slab of feta-like cheese and a rather decidedly manky bunch of what must have been home-grown grapes. I struck lucky and my egg was still a little runny (even if it was lacy around the edges), but at least Roy’s was warm unlike at other places we stayed. A pot of mountain tea was brought around, but we asked for coffee which was reasonable.
The place seems to be family run and as there were people of all ages milling around, chatting and drinking coffee, it was hard to distinguish between, owners, workers, friends and guests.
The hotel website says it is £25 a night, cash only, so I guess it’s value for money.